French instrument labels for strings

Hello, I am transcribing a Lully opera and would like to make sure, I am using the historically correct names for the string parts (even if I am using modern clefs).
In specific, would one write «Dessus de violons» or «Dessus de violon» - plural or singular?
Also, what is the best spelling for the abbreviations?
Thanks a lot.
I’ll attach a screenshot of the first page:

I would say in the plural: “dessus de violon”
confirmed by a French teacher (French in France) who is also a musician.
Maybe we should wait for other opinions…

je dirais au pluriel : dessus de violon
confirmé par un professeur de français qui est aussi musicien (français en France)
Il faut peut-être attendre d’autres avis…

Here is the explanation: it is an invariable word and it has dashes.

Thank you jeanpierre, I guess your French teacher is right :wink:
It did look strange in my eyes, thats why I asked in the first place.
I have changed it to this now:

Besides I had a look into a book, where it described the 17 parts of Lully’s “Acis et Galathee” - as in this picture:

Certainement: dessus de violon.

Je ne sais pas comment Lully lui-même aurait écrit les abréviations, mais je suggère:

DdV, etc,

– seulement car c’est plus lisable, même si’il n’est pas précis…


From composer Lully, I only know Atys (very well interpreted by William Christie). Lully’s other contemporary composer is Rameau: his music is more advanced.

Erm? Rameau was 4 years old when Lully died! Contemporary is a reach.

Yes😕 it’s a big mistake on my part! I was thinking more of the baroque style for both.

Thanks David, I’ll take your suggestion.

Yes one shouldn’t draw conclusions, even if W. Christie covered both repertoire very well.

I thought about it, and I now think that it would be more helpful to write:


Or, if you really want to save space, just


etc, which would match with B-c.


1 Like

You are right David, as these little details separate a good looking score from a perfect one… thanks again.